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Man who lost home in Fort McMurray wildfire wins big in charity lottery

Click to play video: 'Fort McMurray couple wins Full House Lottery' Fort McMurray couple wins Full House Lottery
WATCH ABOVE: A recently retired couple from Fort McMurray who lost their home in last year's wildfires won Full House Lottery's early bird draw – May 25, 2017

A man who lost his home in the Fort McMurray wildfire is the lucky winner of Full House Lottery’s early bird draw. Michael Marchand learned Wednesday he is the new owner of a Maserati GranTurismo MC and a condo in downtown Edmonton next to Rogers Place.

“It’s a big thing. It’s a big prize,” he said. “I never expected anything like this.

“When I got the phone call… I was kind of lost… When I called [partner] Sylvie and told her and then we called and sure enough we won. I can’t still can’t believe that we won.”

The win came as a shock after he lost his home in the fires last May.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray man who lost home in wildfire wins $400K lotto prize: ‘It’s pretty incredible’ 

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Worth a combined $656,873, the prizes come from the richest early bird draw in the history of the Alberta’s biggest home lottery.

“Everybody is very supportive and we are thankful for that,” Marchand said. “They are all happy for us because we have been through quite a bit — lots of other people in Fort McMurray too. So it’s been a very difficult, interesting year. It’s exciting now.”

Marchand and Sylvie Goulet toured the Edmonton condo Thursday afternoon. The couple retired just a few months ago and say the big win has yet to sink in.

“I was in shock. I was in total shock,” Marchand said. “I couldn’t believe I’d won something like that after having lost our home a year ago. To win this prize was just amazing.”

While the couple isn’t sure about what they’ll do with the winnings, they’re sure of the message they want to send to Edmontonians.

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“When we left Fort McMurray, we left in a hurry — a lot of people did,” Marchand said. “They evacuated the whole city.

“I want to say thank you to the people from the city of Edmonton. They were very kind to us and very supportive of everybody. They did a lot for us personally,” he said as Goulet nodded with tears in her eyes.

“The people were exceptional. If there was a high point of the whole thing, that was it: the people of Edmonton were fantastic.”

READ MORE: Full House Lottery suffers breach for 3rd time in 5 months

Full House Lottery has faced some recent challenges. The economic downturn made fundraising difficult and its website was hacked several times this year.

Despite all that, more than 80 per cent of tickets have been sold, according to the Full House Lottery website.

Tickets are on sale until June 8. Proceeds go to the Royal Alexandra and University Hospital organizations.

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